Jericho Farmers Raise Crops For Food Shelves

By:  Dorothy Pellett

An acre of potatoes and 500 heads of cabbage might bring to mind a colossal St. Patrick's Day feast.

Charles and Jean Siegchrist, owners of Barber Farm in Jericho, have a different plan for those crops: giving them away.

They want their potatoes and cabbage — along with peppers, tomatoes and winter squash — to go toward feeding a large number of hungry Vermonters.

Their goal this year is to raise an acre of potatoes, and to prepare soil for 8 acres of production next year. Charles Siegchrist said they also expect to grow 500 cabbage plants, 500 pepper plants, a quarter-acre of winter squash and 50 to 100 tomato plants this season.

The entire crop is destined for the Vermont Foodbank, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf and some smaller food shelves.

Why are they doing it? "I find it offensive that anyone in this country goes hungry," Siegchrist said this month. "The idea that the wealthiest society the world has ever known has children missing out on their best chances to grow and learn because they lack food, is galling. I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can do something, however small, about that."

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